Our lovely friend, Cori, had the genius idea to have a Top Chef party. People could be "chefs" and prepare a dish centered around a specific ingredient and be judged by the party to determine who Top Chef West LA would be. The grand prize was a $50 gift certificate to Sur La Table. What you see above was chef #4 (Julianna-and I apologize if I'm butchering your name) 5 cheese mac and cheese alongside chef #2 (that would be me) mushroom tapenade.
The mac and cheese was awesome; the panko breadcrumbs made it for me as they were super crunchy and almost popped in your mouth. Luscious.
My mushroom tapenade was no winner, and I knew it. The tapenade itself had good flavor (holla if you want the recipe, happy to oblige), but the french bread was boring. If I had drizzled it with olive oil, put some nice gruyere on said bread and put it in a hot oven for 5 minutes THEN put the tapenade on to serve, I would have been in the running. Note to self: TEST the recipe first, dungo.
Me, assembling my dish and trying to not expose my entire bra in the process. That's no way to get votes.
Chef #1 (Natalie) eggplant done two ways: veggie and meaty. She did a great job and I thought it tasted like Thanksgiving stuffing. Nummy, and I don't even like eggplant.
Chef #1 plating. Everyone else drinking.